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News Releases from Region 10

Port of Skagit Selected for $195,000 Brownfields Assessment Grants

Program helps return blighted properties to productive reuse

05/31/2017
Contact Information: 
Judy Smith (smith.judy@epa.gov)
503-326-6994

EPA has selected the Port of Skagit for a brownfields environmental site assessment grant totaling $195,000. With this funding, Skagit will assess a large brownfield site as an initial step towards cleaning up and redeveloping the property, returning it to an asset for both the community and the local economy while protecting public health and the environment.

“EPA is committed to working with communities to redevelop Brownfields sites which have plagued their neighborhoods. EPA’s Assessment and Cleanup grants target communities that are economically disadvantaged and include places where environmental cleanup and new jobs are most needed," said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. "These grants leverage considerable infrastructure and other investments, improving local economies and creating an environment where jobs can grow. I am very pleased the President’s budget recognizes the importance of these grants by providing continued funding for this important program.”

The Port of Skagit was selected for a site-specific hazardous substances grant totaling $195,000 that will be used to conduct environmental site assessments and develop cleanup plans for the former Northern State Hospital site in the City of Sedro-Woolley. The hospital, located on 225 acres, operated from 1912 until 1973, when it was closed due to funding cuts. Grant funds will also be used to support community outreach activities.

“This ongoing project has truly been a collaborative partnership and we are excited about the long term economic benefits of redevelopment of the SWIFT Center,” said Port of Skagit Commissioner Bill Shuler. “Cleanup and redevelopment of the property will provide environmental benefits, improve the local economy, and restore access to this public asset.”

The Port of Skagit, in partnership with the City of Sedro-Woolley and Skagit County have created a redevelopment vision to transform the Northern State Hospital property into a technology innovation and research campus that promotes economic opportunities and education while protecting the historic and natural resources of the property.  The Northern State Hospital property is impacted by metals and solvents in soil and groundwater that constrain the ability to redevelop the site.

This brownfield cleanup and redevelopment project that has potential to dramatically improve the local economy and environment and even provide benefits to developing countries around the world. An emerging local company, Janicki Bioenergy has stepped up to negotiate a lease on the property to establish their headquarters. This company has developed a technology that processes raw sewage to create clean drinking water and electricity. The Omniprocessor has garnered support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, orders from around the world, and viral YouTube videos of Bill Gates drinking the water.

Brownfields assessment and cleanup grants target communities with significant distress. These communities are economically disadvantaged -- neighborhoods where environmental assessment, cleanup and new jobs are most needed for residents that have historically been left behind.

The Port of Skagit is one of 172 entities selected nationally for new brownfields assessment and cleanup funding in 2017.  Across the country, $56.8 million in funding will be granted. 

For more information about Brownfields Cleanup and Assessment Grants: www.epa.gov/brownfields

To view fact sheets about the 2017 grant recipients: https://www.epa.gov/brownfields/brownfields-list-fy17-grants-selected-funding